New US EPA Regulation - Amalgam Waste

“Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for Dental Offices”

Solmetex has been the leader in amalgam separation and amalgam waste solutions for over 16 years with the Hg5 family of products. These products are designed to put the dental office at ease with amalgam waste and make recycling a cinch. Solmetex has the knowledge and the products to ensure your dental practice is compliant with the newly published EPA regulation entitled “Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for Dental Offices”, commonly referred to as the Dental Amalgam Rule. Below are the take-aways from the regulation.

Implementation Period:

  • Existing dental practices will have 3 years to comply and install either a certified ANSI/ADA Standard No. 108 for Amalgam Separator, or a ISO 11143:2008 certified amalgam separator at a separation rate of 95%.
  • New practices will have 30 days to comply and install an either a certified ANSI/ADA Standard No. 108 for Amalgam Separator, or a ISO 11143:2008 certified amalgam separator at a separation rate of 95%.
  • Dental offices that currently have an amalgam separator installed will have 10 years to comply and ensure they have a ANSI/ADA Standard No. 108 for Amalgam Separator, or a ISO 11143:2008 certified amalgam separator at a separation rate of 95%.


  • This rule applies to offices, including large institutions such as dental schools and clinics, where dentistry is practiced that discharge to a POTW. It does not apply to mobile units or offices where the practice of dentistry consists only of the following dental specialties: oral pathology, oral and maxillofacial radiology, oral and maxillofacial surgery, orthodontics, periodontics, or prosthodontics.

Change out:

  • The regulation urges dental offices to follow manufacturer’s guidelines when changing out their containers.
  • Dental offices that discharge to POTWs that do not place or remove amalgam need only submit a certification.
  • Dental offices that place or remove amalgam must operate and maintain an amalgam separator and must not discharge scrap amalgam or use certain kinds of line cleaners. They must also submit a compliance report. While these reporting mechanisms will be required the details on how and when they are to be done is still to be determined and will mostly likely fall to the individual states and local water authorities.


  • Each dental office will be responsible for implementing a Best Management Practice (BMP) regarding amalgam waste within their practice.

While amalgam separators are the focus of the proposed regulation, the regulation is about responsible management of amalgam waste. This also includes the use of disposable chairside traps, contact and non-contact amalgam waste buckets for items that come in contact with amalgam.

Important Links:

EPA Amalgam Waste Regulation Page

EPA Regulation-“Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for Dental Offices” 

EPA Regulation Fact Sheet

Below you will find states and municipalities that have set their own standards to handling amalgam waste:


States Deadlines  
Maine December 31, 2004
New Hampshire October 1, 2005
Connecticut January 11, 2006
Massachusetts June 22, 2006
Vermont January 1, 2007
New Mexico December 31, 2014
New York May 12, 2008
Rhode Island July 1, 2008
New Jersey October 1, 2009
Oregon January 1, 2010
Michigan December 31, 2013
Local Areas
Wichita – KS June 1, 2001
King County (WA) June 1, 2003
Palo Alto – CA March 31, 2005
Fort Collins – CO July 1, 2005
San Francisco Bay Area January 1, 2007
Eau Claire – WI January 1, 2008
Watertown – WI January 1, 2008
Milwaukee – WI February 1, 2008
Racine – WI February 1, 2008
La Crosse – WI March 26, 2008
Neenah Menasha – WI June 1, 2008
Dane County – WI December 31, 2008
Waukesha – WI December 31, 2008
Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District – WI December 31, 2008
Chippewa Falls – WI April 1, 2009
Albuquerque June 30, 2010
Bernalillo County – NM June 30, 2010
Menomonie – WI July 1, 2010
Central Marin Sanitation Agency / Las Gallinas Valley – CA December 31, 2010
San Josè / Santa Clara – CA 07/2009 – 12/2010

ADA says that also the counties of Duluth (MN), Boulder (CO), Colorado Springs (CO), Highlands Ranch (CO), Fountain (CO), Livermore (CA), the Metro Counties (MN) and Solon (OH) have mandates for amalgam separators.

San Francisco and surrounding Bay Areas communities are: Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, East Palo Alto, El Cerrito, Emeryville, Kensington, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Mountain View, Oakland, Richmond Annex, Union Sanitary District (Freemont), Newark, Union City).